Event: OZ Academy “Rude In June”
Date: June 3rd, 2018
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 723
I am continuing my trend of being somewhat current with watching Joshi, as its now time to see what OZ Academy has been up to (I typed this line when I started writing this review two weeks ago, so not necessarily still true). This is a pretty big event for the promotion, as both the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship (held by Ozaki Army) and the OZ Academy Openweight Championship (held by Yoshiko) are on the line. Here is the full card:
As always, all the wrestlers above have profiles on Joshi City, you can click on their names to go straight to it.
Alex Lee vs. Saori Anou
OZ Academy doesn’t have any rookies so they don’t really have “rookie level” matches. They get right to it. Alex Lee wrestles regularly between OZ Academy and Sendai Girls’, here she is part of Ozaki Army which is the main heel stable in the promotion. So she may cheat some. Saori wrestles in Actwres girl’Z and is their top wrestler, she comes into the match the Princess of Pro Wrestling Champion.
We join this one in progress as Alex has Saori in the corner, slaps by Alex and she hits a jumping knee in the corner. Alex picks up Saori, Saori gets away but she is tripped by Maya Yukihi when she goes off the ropes. Maya pulls her out of the ring and whips her before Mayumi Ozaki throws Saori into the ring post, Alex comes out and she scoop slams Saori onto the floor. Alex gets on the apron before jumping back to the floor with a footstomp onto Saori, she slides Saori back into the ring and hits a vertical suplex for two. Knees by Alex but Saori comes back with a boot, three more boots by Saori and Alex finally falls to her feet. Saori goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, but Alex kicks out of the cover. Saori grabs Alex but Alex hits a suplex, Saori quickly gets back into control and delivers a fisherman suplex for a two count. Alex gets Saori’s back and hits a release German, kick to the head by Alex and she covers Saori for two. Kick by Alex and she whips Saori in the back, Saori avoids one shot however and gets the whip from Alex to return the favor. Mayumi comes in but she hits Alex with a chain by accident, backslide with a bridge by Saori and she picks up the three count! Saori Anou wins!
I’d like to say this match was good as I adore Saori Anou, but it was not good. Alex Lee is slightly better now that she has a heel gimmick but she still isn’t smooth in the ring, as her general movements are clunky and the transitions were rough around the edges. Saori is a solid young wrestler but she joined in the awkwardness here, and neither one came out of the match looking better than they came into it. Saori works better with wrestlers she is comfortable with and looks stronger in her home promotion, here it just didn’t work in any way.
Aja Kong, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Yoneyama vs. Aoi Kizuki, AKINO, and Kaho Kobayashi
This is one of those “are these teams really fair?” situations. On one side we have a faction appropriately named MONSTERS, with all three of the Kong/Matsumoto/Yoneyama team being former champions in OZ Academy and having 60 years of experience between them. On the other side are members of MISSION K4, with two undersized but feisty wrestlers (Aoi and Kaho) teaming with the veteran AKINO (Aoi isn’t really in MISSION K4 but is an honorary member here). The chances of MISSION K4 winning here are slim but I am sure they will give it their all.
Aoi is supposed to start the match but quickly changes her mind, throwing Kaho to the wolves instead. Kaho is triple teamed for a bit until Kong stays in as the legal wrestler, Kong picks up Kaho but Kaho hits a Codebreaker, Aoi and AKINO run in and they double team Kong. Kong pushes them all away as Kaori and Hiroyo come in, but MISSION K4 regains the advantage. They go back triple teaming Kong but Kong hits a jumping crossbody onto all of them and tags in Hiroyo. Body avalanche by Hiroyo to AKINO but AKINO hits a jawbreaker followed by a pair of kicks. Hiroyo blocks the third kick and the two trade blows, a battle that Hiroyo eventually wins with a spinning back elbow. She goes for a sliding lariat but AKINO catches her arm and hits a backdrop suplex. Hiroyo fires back with a lariat, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. AKINO tags in Kaho while Kaori is also tagged in, springboard armdrag by Kayo and she delivers a tilt-a-whirl headscissors followed by a dropkick. More dropkicks by Kaho, she goes to the top turnbuckle and drops Kaori with a missile dropkick before AKINO goes up top and hits a missile dropkick as well. Aoi follows with a diving crossbody, fisherman suplex by Kaho but Kaori barely gets a shoulder up.
Kaho tags in Aoi, jumping lariat by Aoi and she covers Kaori for two. Mio Shirai (the referee) cheers on Aoi, which Kong doesn’t like so she tosses Aoi from the top turnbuckle to the mat. Hiroyo comes in and tries to powerbomb Kaori onto Aoi, but Aoi moves out of the way and AKINO kicks Hiroyo in the head. Aoi goes back up top and delivers the swivel body press, but Kong breaks up the cover. Aoi picks up Kaori and hits a running elbow, Kaho comes in and she dropkicks Kaori. Aoi picks up Kaori and hits a double wrist-clutch suplex, but ht only gets two. Aoi goes off the ropes but Hiroyo comes in and lariats her, AKINO and Kaho return but Hiroyo drops them both with a double backdrop suplex. Aoi and Kaori go back at it, cradle by Aoi but Kaori reverses it as they go back and forth. Kong lariats both Kaho and AKINO before slamming Kaori onto both of them, Hiroyo them slams Kaori onto Kaho before Kong picks up Kaori to try to slam her into Aoi. Aoi moves, Hiroyo holds Aoi for Kong as Kong gets her paint can, and Kong hits Aoi in the head with it. Hiroyo puts Kaori in a waistlock as Kaori puts Aoi in one, and Hiroyo suplexes both of them (Kaori is basically just being used as a weapon here). Kaori hits a senton onto Aoi, she goes up top and nails a diving senton, picking up the three count! MONSTERS win the match.
I probably enjoyed this match more than I should have, it was pretty basic but still had a certain charm to it. Mio encouraging Aoi Kizuki was cute, I think she was acting nice because Aoi announced she will be retiring soon. Kaori being used as a weapon was over-done but still different, and it was a short enough match that the offense never had time to feel stale. It had a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything due to the match length, and while its a match that isn’t memorable it still was entertaining for a lower-card match. A fun match between the veterans. Mildly Recommended
Tsubasa Kuragaki vs. Yumiko Hotta
Time for a Hoss Battle! Yumiko Hotta isn’t a regular in OZ Academy as she is now a trainer in Actwres girl’Z, however sometimes if one of her students is on an event she’ll have a match as well which is why she is here. Hotta has had a long and historic career but has slowed down some in the twilight of her career, as she mostly wrestles on smaller events or wrestler produced shows. Kuragaki is a 20+ year veteran Freelancer but has been a regular in OZ Academy for years, she is in a “gatekeeper” role at this stage in her career. Nothing is really on the line here, just two veterans slugging it out for our amusement.
We join this one in progress, which is a bit unusual for a six minute match. Kuragaki has Hotta in a front headlock before hitting a backdrop suplex, she goes up top but Hotta rolls out of the way of the moonsault attempt. Kicks to the chest by Hotta but Kuragaki returns to her feet, sleeper by Hotta but Kuragaki drives her into the corner to release her grip. Hotta quickly goes for the sleeper again but Kuragaki flips her to the mat, rapid fire lariats by Kuragaki and she knocks Hotta to the mat with a final lariat. Kuragaki goes up top and delivers the moonsault, but Hotta kicks out at two. Kuragaki picks up Hotta but Hotta pushes her off and goes for Kuragaki’s arm, Hotta goes for a powerbomb but Kuragaki quickly back bodydrops out of it. They both go for lariats until Kuragaki sends Hotta to the mat, Hotta gets back up however and catches Kuragaki in the head with a heel kick. Cover by Hotta, but Kuragaki gets a shoulder up. Jawbreaker by Kuragaki but Hotta palm thrusts her back, lariat by Kuragaki but Hotta kicks out. Superkick by Kuragaki but Hotta slaps her as they trade blows, lariat by Kuragaki but again it gets a two. Kuragaki goes for a suplex but Hotta reverses it into a cradle for two, Kuragaki then sneaks in a backslide but she gets a two as well. Hotta gets the sleeper back on, Kuragaki drops out of it but Hotta sits down on her and holds down Kuragaki for the three count! Yumiko Hotta wins!
This wasn’t quite the slobber-knocker that I was hoping for. There were moments where it looked like they were going to just start teeing off on each other, but it would always be interrupted. Them both deciding on flash pins being the way to go seemed unusual, and the sudden ending came across flat since the match hadn’t been very long up to that point. Too short and clunky to recommend, a Hoss Battle this was not.
(c) Maya Yukihi and Mayumi Ozaki vs. Kakeru Sekiguchi and Sonoko Kato
OZ Academy Tag Team Championship
We have reached the title portion of the show, I assume the next two matches won’t be clipped. Maya Yukihi and Mayumi Ozaki, as part of the Ozaki Army, won the tag team championship on October 29th, 2017 against AKINO and Kaho Kobayashi. Even though they won the belts six months ago this is their first defense, as the titles have been a bit of an after-thought as Maya spends the bulk of her time in Ice Ribbon. Since that time, Kakeru has joined MISSION K4 and teams here with the veteran Sonoko Kato in an attempt to bring the tag titles back to the faction. It should be noted that Mio Shirai is the referee, who is in the pocket of Ozaki Army. Police is at ringside as well, so the odds are stacked against MISSION K4.
Maya and Sonoko start the match, they trade kicks with each other until Maya rakes Sonoko in the eyes. Uppercut by Sonoko and she hits a dragon screw before tagging in Kakeru. Kakeru and Sonoko Irish whip Maya and double team her until Mayumi comes in the ring with Police to take over the situation. The action spills out onto the floor with Ozaki Army in control, Maya whips Kakeru before rolling her back into the ring. Kakeru is attacked by all the members of Ozaki Army while Mio pretends to try to get them to stop, finally the ring clears with Mayumi staying in with Kakeru. Scoop slams by Mayumi, she tags in Maya and Mayu continues the assault on young Kakeru as Police continues to help from ringside. We clip ahead to Mayumi being in the ring with Sonoko, back bodydrop by Sonoko and she kicks Mayumi in the head. Kakeru comes in to help but Police pulls her out of the ring, Sonoko is brought out to the floor also as the Ozaki Army carnage continues. After the floor beatdown is over, Mayumi and Kakeru return to the ring as we see that Kakeru has been busted open. Alex Lee joins in on the fun too as Sonoko and Kakeru are attacked in the corner, Mayumi brings in her chain and hits Sonoko repeatedly in the head with it, Sonoko finally blocks a shot however and the two struggle over the chain. Mayumi hits Sonoko with an enzuigiri, but Sonoko catches Mayumi with a Samoan Driver for a two count. Sonoko goes up top but Mayumi joins her and hits a superplex, Alex Lee comes in but Kaho Kobayashi does as well so they cancel each other out. Kaho suplexes Mayumi as Sonoko goes up top, diving leg drop by Sonoko but Police runs in with a boot to Sonoko.
Maya tries to grab Mayumi but Kakeru kicks her in the face, dropkicks by Kakeru to Mayumi, she covers her but Mayumi gets a shoulder up. Kakeru picks up Mayumi but Mayumi throws her to the mat, Kakeru gets back up and hits a STO, but that gets a two as well. Kakeru goes off the ropes but Mio trips her on purpose, Maya comes in with her whip and hits everyone she sees while Mayumi gets her chain. Mayumi hits Kakeru in the head with the chain, cover by Mayumi but Kakeru kicks out of the one-foot cover. Mayumi hits Kakeru with her chain again but Sonoko runs in and knees her in the stomach, but Maya returns and whips Sonoko. Police and Alex Lee come in with chairs and throw them onto Kakeru, Mayumi slams Kakeru’s head into the mat but the cover gets two. Mayumi picks up Kakeru and goes for the Tequila Sunrise, but Kakeru blocks it before AKINO goes up top and hits a missile dropkick onto Mayumi. AKINO takes care of Police as well, Alex Lee comes in the ring but she eats a dropkick from Kaho. AKINO and Sonoko take turns kicking Mayumi, Kowloon’s Gate by Sonoko and Kakeru covers her, but Mio is too “distracted” to make the count. Police returns with a chair to clear the ring, cradle by Kakeru to Mayumi, but Mio makes a really slow count so it only gets two. Things break down again as they tend to do in Ozaki Army matches, Mayumi slaps Kakeru repeatedly as Maya returns and kicks Kakeru in the face. Mayumi immediately delivers the Tequila Sunrise, and she picks up the three count! Ozaki Army are still the champions.
So I was wrong about there not being clipping as about five minutes was missing. They probably clipped out the ‘slower’ non-carnage portions of the match. I’m on record as not really enjoying these matches as I really don’t like the “heel referee’ gimmick. I didn’t like it with the nWo and I don’t like it now, and since Ozaki Army usually win their matches its not a situation where the faces commonly get the upper-hand. Even though Kaho and AKINO got more involved at the end, for the bulk of it the Ozaki Army just did as they wished. The ending wasn’t very climatic as Kakeru didn’t really get a hope spot to cut off Ozaki Army and it never felt like the end result was in any doubt. That being said there were some things I enjoyed, Kakeru is feisty and while it came a bit late I did enjoy the rest of MISSION K4 getting involved to try to even the score. A decent enough chaos-filled match, its not a structure that is a personal favorite of mine but if you enjoy Ozaki Army matches a lot then you’ll enjoy this one too.
(c) Yoshiko vs. Hikaru Shida
OZ Academy Openweight Championship
Time for the main event! Its automatically good to me because it is a main event match in OZ Academy that won’t involve Ozaki Army. Yoshiko won the Openweight Championship on October 29th, 2017, and has been an active champion as this is her fifth defense of the title. Along the way she has defeated Hiroyo Matsumoto, Kuragaki, AKINO, Ozaki, and Kato which is a very accomplished list of wrestlers. The SEAdLINNNG wrestler has a big challenge today however, as she faces off against Freelancer (but OZ Academy regular) Hikaru Shida. Hikaru has not had a major singles title since 2015 when she was the champion in WAVE and has mostly been a tag team specialist since then, so she is going to have to step her game up to take home the championship.
They start the match slow as they feel each other out, Yoshiko knocks Hikaru to the mat first with a hard shoulderblock but Hikaru recovers and connects with a hurricanrana. Yoshiko rolls out of the ring but Hikaru goes out after her and throws Yoshiko into the chairs at ringside. Hikaru sets up a chair and goes to do a jumping knee off of it, but Yoshiko catches her in mid-air and throws Hikaru back into the chair. Yoshiko then picks up the chair and throws it at Hikaru before sliding her back into the ring, bootscrapes by Yoshiko in the corner and she delivers a running kick to Hikaru’s head. Drop toehold by Yoshiko and she twists on Hikaru’s leg, but Hikaru gets to the ropes for the break. Yoshiko goes off the ropes but Hikaru pulls down the top rope and Yoshiko falls out onto the apron. Hikaru elbows Yoshiko to the floor, she goes out to the apron but Yoshiko lariats her leg out from under her. Back in the ring Yoshiko keeps on Hikaru’s leg, she goes for a scoop slam but Hikaru blocks it. Vertical suplex by Hikaru and she rolls through it, suplexing Yoshiko again but this time into the turnbuckles. Hikaru throws Yoshiko into the corner but Yoshiko drops her onto the apron when she charges in, Yoshiko gets on the second turnbuckle and tries to suplex Hikaru back into the ring, but Hikaru blocks it.
They both end up on the apron but Hikaru drops to the floor and trips Yoshiko before kneeing her in the head. Hikaru gets on the second turnbuckle from inside the ring and suplexes Yoshiko back into the ring, Hikaru elbows Yoshiko but Yoshiko elbows her back and they trade blows. Yoshiko goes for lariats but Hikaru knees her to block it, Yoshiko finally delivers one but Hikaru blocks the sliding lariat attempt. Knee to the head by Hikaru, and she covers Yoshiko for two. Hikaru goes off the ropes but Yoshiko levels her with a lariat. Another lariat by Yoshiko and a few more, but Hikaru keeps standing back up. Yoshiko finally sends down Hikaru long enough for a cover, she then gets on the second turnbuckle and delivers a diving senton, but Hikaru kicks out at two. Yoshiko goes all the way up the next time but Hikaru recovers and suplexes her back to the mat. Yoshiko fires back with a lariat, she picks up Hikaru but Hikaru sneaks in a sunset flip for two. Yoshiko goes for a lariat but Hikaru catches it and headbutts her, knee strike by Hikaru and she connects with several more. The referee does a count for Yoshiko but Yoshiko gets up before she reaches ten, Hikaru promptly knees Yoshiko some more and covers her for two.
Hikaru picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko fires off a lariat, another lariat by Yoshiko but Hikaru gets a shoulder up on the cover. Sliding lariat by Yoshiko, but that gets a two count as well. Yoshiko picks up Hikaru and hits a fireman’s carry slam, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Hikaru slowly recovers and joins her. Hikaru goes for a Frankensteiner but Yoshiko blocks it, she gets Hikaru on her shoulders and tosses her back to the mat. Diving senton by Yoshiko, but Hikaru barely kicks out. Yoshiko goes up top again but Hikaru gets a knee up when Yoshiko goes for the diving senton, knee to the back of the head by Hikaru and she delivers the Falcon Arrow for two. Tamashii no Three Count by Hikaru, but Yoshiko grabs the ropes to break up the pin. Hikaru picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko punches her in the face, she goes off the ropes but Hikaru connects with a jumping knee. Lariat by Yoshiko but Hikaru delivers a jumping knee, she picks up Yoshiko but struggles to pick her up. Hikaru goes off the ropes and hits the Three Count, Hikaru picks up Yoshiko again and drops her with a vertical suplex lift into a side slam for two. Hikaru picks up Yoshiko and hits another Falcon Arrow, she goes off the ropes and nails the Tamashii no Three Count for the three count! Hikaru Shida is the new champion!
While this match wasn’t perfect, it was certainly entertaining. Hikaru Shida is one of my favorites so seeing her in a major singles match was great, and I think she really delivered here. Her knees were on point and frequent, which is all I ever want in life, and Yoshiko was her usual solid self. I didn’t love the early leg work immediately being forgotten, mostly because Yoshiko did a good job with it and it lasted for several minutes, sometimes just a bit of limping can go a long way. But aside from that, it was a hard hitting and well paced match that felt like it went just the right length for what they were going for. Overall a really solid match, not without its faults but still definitely worth a watch. Recommended
As a general rule, OZ Academy isn't my favorite promotion in the world due to the Ozaki Army shenanigans, but it was mostly limited to only one match here. The bigger issue was that the amount of clipping was more than I expected as even the tag title match was clipped, and its hard to get too excited about ten minute mid card matches that are cut down even more than that. Luckily the main event delivered, which is the reason I was here anyway, and it was great to see Hikaru Shida pick up the big win. Top to bottom I wouldn't call this a must-see card, but definitely check out the Openweight Championship match, especially if you are a Shida fan.